The Christ Of The ‘Never’
With eyes that are narrowed to pierce To the awful horizons of land, Through the blaze of hot days, and the fierce White heat-waves that flow on the sand; Through the Never Land westward and nor’ward, Bronzed, bearded, and gaunt on the track, Low-voiced and hard-knuckled, rides forward The Christ of the Outer Out-back. For the cause that will ne’er be relinquished Despite all the cynics on earth In the ranks of the bush undistinguished By manner or dress if by birth; God’s preacher, of churches unheeded God’s vineyard, though barren the sod Plain spokesman where spokesman is needed, Rough link ‘twixt the bushman and God. He works where the hearts of a nation Are withered in flame from the sky, Where the sinners work out their salvation In a hell-upon-earth ere they die. In the camp or the lonely hut lying In a waste that seems out of God’s sight, He’s the doctor the mate of thee dying Through the smothering heat of the night. By his work in the hells of the shearers, Where the drinking is ghastly and grim, Where the roughest and worst of his hearers Have listened bareheaded to him; By his paths through the parched desolation, Hot rides, and the long, terrible tramps; By the hunger, the thirst, the privation Of his work in the farthermost camps; By his worth in the light that shall search men And prove ay! and justify each, I place him in front of all churchmen Who feel not, who know not but preach!